Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Can you solve the cube?

I was sitting here, about to write about something that wasn't about Rubik's cubes, when a cube-related email arrived in my inbox. It was from someone who'd just learnt how to solve the cube.

This, in itself, is pretty exciting to me because I love cubes. But the most exciting thing for me is that he'd learnt how to do it from my beginner cube solution! :)

I've received other emails fom people who've learnt the cube from my page. It's really great to hear that people are getting into cubing, and also that my instructions mostly make sense. I say "mostly" because I also get emails from people who I've managed to confuse.

There's been a definite revival in the cube's popularity in the past few years. It's not at the dizzying heights of the early 1980s, but there's clearly a resurgence. Why is this? I think it's largely thanks to the internet actually, particularly sites such as the international speedcubing group and speedcubing.com which have put speedcubers from all around the world in touch with each other.

BTW, for non-cubers who are reading this, I feel I should offer some evidence for my previous assertion that there's been a resurgence in the cube's popularity. What I find quite compelling are all the international cube competitions over the past year and a bit. The reason this is significant is because, prior to August 2003, there had been a 21 years absence of international cube competitions!! :(

The first Rubiks World Championships was in 1982 in Budapest, Hungary. The second Rubiks World Championships was last year in Toronto, Canada. As far as I can tell, the international cubing scene was pretty quiet in between. I'm sure there were cubers still cubing away, but there weren't any international competitions.

Since Worlds last year, national championships and local competitions have been happening all over the place:

  • 24 January 2004: Caltech Winter Tournament
  • 3 April 2004: Caltech Spring Tournament
  • 16 April 2004: French Rubiks Championships
  • 24 April 2004: German Rubiks Championships
  • 10 July 2004: United States National Championships
  • 7-8 August 2004: European Rubiks Championships
  • 11 September 2004: Czech Championships

And there are more to come:

  • 10 October 2004: Dutch Open
  • 16 October 2004: Caltech Fall Tournament
  • 13 November 2004: Spanish Rubiks Championships
  • 5-6 November 2005: World Rubiks Championships

There's also several online competitions such as the fewest moves challenge, the blindfold contest, the Saturday contest and the Sunday contest.

Yay for cubing. :)

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